Bright lights and lots of roses set the scene for a wine-country wedding

When Minnesota-based Annette Roseland, a sales manager, and Brian Call, a senior mortgage consultant, attended their company's sales meeting in California, the last thing they expected to do was fall in love. But fate had other ideas, and less than a year later, Annette and Brian were engaged and planning their wedding. "We wanted a very romantic, passionate experience for our closest friends," says Annette. To accomplish this, she and Brian decided to hold their wedding in Napa Valley, where they shared their first date—a tour of the local vineyards while they were in town for work. The couple enlisted the help of California-based event planner and Modern Bride Advisory Panel member Sasha Souza who, Annette says, "understood the intimate ambience that Brian and I were looking for."

On April 30, 2005, Annette and Brian were married on a private estate, and their 30 guests arrived in style: The couple flew them in for the fete and arranged to have them transported to the site in 1947 Packard convertible limos. A quartet performed during the ceremony, and the couple's children from previous relationships were part of the festivities: Their two sons served as the ring bearers, and Annette's daughter honored her mom with a reading. "She chose a poem about true love," recalls Annette. "It was so moving to see that my 15-year-old understood exactly what this relationship meant to me."

For the outdoor reception that followed, guests moved to a separate part of the estate for dinner. Souza and Leah Lowery, a floral designer, constructed a moss-covered arbor adorned with hundreds of flowers to decorate the dining area, and the handpainted Japanese lanterns that hung above provided elegant lighting. During the cocktail hour, guests were served hearty fare, such as pulled-pork biscuits and grilled shrimp skewers. For the formal dinner that followed, guests were seated at one banquet table set in crimson linens and accented with centerpieces made of copper troughs filled with red and gold blooms. At dinner, guests feasted on field greens, filet mignon and lobster tail. As their day came to an end, Annette and Brian were thrilled that their wedding was exactly what they had hoped for. "We knew that this would be the most important day of our lives," says the bride, "and it was perfect."

Learn From Annette and Brian
Throw out the rules: Although the couple were married in the spring, they fell in love with an autumn palette. Souza advised the couple to "use the colors that you love," and the result was a deep-red-and-moss-green combination that perfectly accented the backdrop of California's wine country.
Organize group activities: Since the couple's guests arrived the day before the wedding, Annette and Brian arranged for them to go on the same winery tour that they had taken on their first date together.
Forgo the favors: Rather than give their guests a parting gift, Annette and Brian sent a bottle of their favorite wine along with their invitations, and also printed the story of their relationship for their guests to keep as a memento. —Cristi L. Hansen

Sasha Souza, the couple's event planner, brought this wrought-iron gateway to the site and had it painted and embellished with floral arrangements and rose petals to welcome guests to the property.

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